USC gave control of the Finnish shipyard in exchange for shares of the producer of Afarak alloys

In the share capital of Arctech Helsinki Shipyard, Oy United Shipbuilding Corporation will retain 45%.
The United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) has decided on the closing conditions for the sale of a stake in its only foreign asset, the Finnish shipyard Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy. USC will exchange 55% in a foreign company for shares of the producer of ferroalloys Afarak, a member of the Kermas group. The decision to sell USC took because of the difficulties in attracting foreign financing after the inclusion of the corporation in the US sanctions list. In this case, the corporation will retain a 45% stake in the shipyard.

USC in the sale of a controlling stake in the Finnish shipyard Arctech Helsinki Shipyard of the international investment corporation Kermas will exchange shares of the shipyard for a package in the company-manufacturer of Afarak ferroalloys, the head of USC Alexei Rakhmanov said. He found it difficult to recalculate the value of the asset being sold, but he clarified that it was "an exchange for the company's listed shares." The fact that the transaction will be cash-strapped, Mr. Rakhmanov said at the end of May in the framework of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum. But USC will retain 45% of the shipyard, which "will allow us to continue our work and get out of the vicious circle of sanctions, which hinders us," the USC head emphasized.

Afarak, a vertically integrated producer of ferroalloys, is part of the international group Kermas Resources (it owns 26.9%). Afarak manages mines and metallurgical enterprises in South Africa, Turkey and Germany. It is based in Helsinki. Revenue in 2017 - about € 199 million (growth of 29.5%), profit - € 6.7 million. The largest shareholders on May 31 - Danko Konchar (58.66% through the nominal holder of Nordea Bank Ab (Publ), Suomen Sivuliike ), Hong Kong Hino Resources Co. (14.1%). Debt obligations at the end of 2017 - € 87.57 million.

In 2011, USC acquired 50% of the STX Finland Oy shipyard and the structures of the Korean STX Corporation, and in 2014 it completely bought it. The shipyard specializes in the construction of ice-class ships. According to the annual report of the USC for 2015, Arctech Helsinki Shipyard's revenue was € 145 million. Among the projects were the construction of five icebreakers, including Polaris for the Finnish Transport Agency and an icebreaker for providing offshore drilling platforms for Sovcomflot. The shipyard planned to begin construction of an ARC-7 ice-class tanker to transport gas condensate for Yamal LNG, as well as an Arctic cruise ship for the Japanese Peace Boat.

But after USC was included in the US sanctions list, the company and its structures (including the Finnish shipyard) had difficulties with attracting financing from foreign banks. At the end of 2017, the Finnish newspaper Kauppalehti reported that the corporation was looking for a partner, sold him a stake in the Finnish shipyard. The search for a partner was related to the need for Western financing for the construction of passenger airliners. At the same time, negotiations with the Government of Finland on attracting local industrialists to the capital turned out to be fruitless.

In January, Finnish TV company Yle reported with reference to sources that the international investment corporation Kermas, which includes Afarak, may become the new owner of the control package of the shipyard. According to Yle, the possible new owner has experience in shipbuilding business, in particular in Croatia, where a tanker is being built.

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